OCD Diagnosis: Treatment And Tips To Follow

Reviewed by Laura Angers, LPC

Published 06/27/2022

OCD or obsessive-compulsive disorder is a mental condition that greatly impacts a person’s life and routine. After an OCD diagnosis, there are likely many steps that a doctor will ask someone experiencing OCD to follow. Additionally, there will be other tips they can utilize, which could be able to help with the treatment process as well. Keep reading this article to learn more about OCD, including treatment tips relating to it.

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What Is OCD?

OCD is a condition where someone will usually experience obsessions and compulsions. In most cases, people will exhibit both, but, in some people, they will only have symptoms related to one or the other.

Obsessions

Obsessions are thoughts that are recurring and are unwanted. Sometimes obsessive thoughts are images that are violent or sexual in nature. These obsessions may cause a person experiencing them to question their beliefs or cause them stress. A few examples are thoughts that there are germs everywhere, feeling that certain things are unorganized or out of order, or thoughts where you want to hurt others.

Compulsions

Compulsions are urges that a person will have, in which they feel they must act. Sometimes compulsions are called rituals or are related to obsessions that a person is experiencing. Compulsions include things like washing your hands many times, cleaning everything numerous times a day, checking to make sure that doors are locked countless times each day, or organizing many things in your home.

If you or a loved one is experiencing obsessions or compulsions, take this OCD test to learn what steps you can take.

How Do I Know If I Have OCD?

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Having obsessions or compulsions by themselves doesn’t necessarily mean that you have OCD. To be diagnosed with OCD, you must have obsessions and compulsions and spend at least 1 hour a day acting on your compulsions. Moreover, they must have an impact on the rest of the things you get done each day. If your obsessive thoughts and the rituals you must get through are taking time away from school or work, there is a good chance that you are experiencing OCD.  When these things are happening to you, consider getting the mental health help that you need.  You can get checked out by a doctor, who will be able to tell you for sure if you have OCD.

Treatments

You should seek treatment for OCD as soon as possible, as this is a condition that is unlikely to clear up on its own. Here is a look at some of the best OCD treatment options available.

Psychotherapy

A beneficial way to treat OCD is through the use of psychotherapy. This type of therapy allows a person to be able to talk openly with a therapist, and in turn, the therapist may be able to help them learn how to handle their stress and anxiety and change their thinking and actions. Both of these are quite important when dealing with OCD. There are numerous types of therapy that a doctor may choose to use, depending on the symptoms experienced by a person with OCD. An F1000 Prime Reports study explains how psychotherapy is often the first type of treatment that is offered.

Medicines

Another way that is utilized to treat OCD is the use of prescriptions. Medicines are sometimes necessary to control symptoms and are generally used in conjunction with therapy. The OCD medication that is used by your doctor will greatly depend on what symptoms you experience. Different types are used and approved by the FDA to treat OCD. However, many of the medications for OCD may cause side effects for a person taking it. If you experience side effects, tell your doctor, so they will be able to determine if you need to switch medicines or if the dosage needs to be adjusted.

What Is The Best Medicine For OCD?

The best medicine for OCD has to do with a person’s OCD. Each person’s OCD symptoms will determine what medicine will be best suited for their needs. This is something that you should discuss with your doctor, so you can be better informed. A 2014 study describes the most common prescriptions used to treat OCD and how it is important that the one that is chosen for a person experiencing OCD to treat their symptoms. 

Tips To Follow

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There are other steps that you can follow, which may help you as you are going through your treatment program.

  1. Eat A Balanced Diet. You should do what you can to eat a balanced diet. This includes eating healthy meals and eating an appropriate number of calories. It can be hard to eat healthy all the time, but you should try to eat a balanced diet as often as possible.
  2. Exercising can be beneficial to you as well since exercising can help you decrease your stress levels. It may also help you go to sleep at night since you spent some time burning off calories.
  3. Get Some Sleep. Getting enough sleep each night is important for all facets of your health. Sleeping allows the body to recharge.
  4. Don’t Try To Argue With Yourself. As you go through treatment, you will likely learn more about processing your thoughts and feelings. As you learn these techniques, you should refrain from being hard on yourself about what you’re thinking. Keep in mind that you are getting help, which means you are changing the way you think. You shouldn’t be arguing with the thoughts in your head, and instead, you should apply what you are learning to process these thoughts and not have to spend a lot of time dwelling on them.
  5. Remember To Do The Work. No one can go through your treatment program for you, so you must put in the work. When your doctor asks you to do certain “assignments” at home, take the time to do them. This includes taking your medicines and following any other special rules that are laid out. When you are putting in the effort to get treatment, this will give you a better chance of seeing some of your symptoms subside.
  6. Talk To Your Doctor. Don’t keep your mouth shut when something is bothering you about your treatment. If you don’t feel like your medicines are working or disagree with something else you are experiencing, talk to your therapist about this. They should be able to suggest solutions or change things up so you will feel more comfortable. In some cases, people do not talk to their doctors about their symptoms. You should not feel ashamed of any symptoms you are experiencing. Instead, talk to your mental health professional about them, so they can help you further.
  7. Relax When You Need To. There are many ways that you can choose to relax. It can be anything from listening to a book on tape to practicing yoga. Some people choose to meditate, and others may decide to walk their dog. Try a few things to see what works for you. When something seems to help you relax or causes you to feel less anxious, this may be what you need to keep doing to help you relax.

Outlook

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There is no cure for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, but the condition can be treated. When someone gets the support they need as quickly as they can, there is a chance that they will see relief from some of their symptoms. Moreover, as they work through treatment, they may be taught different techniques, which will help them deal with their obsessions and compulsions and the anxiety these things can cause them.

If you are the loved one of someone with OCD, you should never force them to get treatment. However, you can be supportive of them and gently talk to them about the condition and how they may need treatment to help them with this disorder. Additionally, you may need to seek therapy for yourself so you can support them even further. In some instances, family therapy is a part of treatment for OCD. Be sure to talk to a mental health professional if you feel that you need to, and research OCD, so you can learn as much as you can about the condition.

Some people with OCD are affected with the disorder for many years, and many do not reach out for therapy. However, of those that do, many see a reduction in their symptoms. Be sure to talk about all of your symptoms with your doctor and keep a list of your symptoms in a notebook, if you can. This can help you keep track of them and offer you a better chance of lessening your symptoms. With more information, your therapist will have a better understanding of what you are experiencing and may be able to treat your symptoms more effectively. Remember to be patient because it can take a long time to see results, but when you follow a treatment plan and utilize some of the tips listed above, you can see a change in your OCD.